Ever notice guns for sale in the classified section of the Floyd Press? I see it quite often. I’ve had quite a few people ask me about the legality of that. I’ve also had a few self made experts on the state firearms statutes tell me what the law says about private firearms transactions. Rather than challenge these know-it-alls and start something I just respond with “You might want to read up on that.”
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about buying and selling firearms between individuals is the idea that firearms must be registered. Except for fully automatic weapons and weapons with silencers and/or short barrels, there is no registration. There is no law or requirement to register common handguns, rifles and shotguns.
As a side bar to this, firearms that are bought from gun shops are not registered, either. The paperwork you fill out when you buy a firearm from a business stays in the business files for 20 years or when the business closes. I don’t care what “Uncle Bill” told you, that paper work does NOT go to ATF, the FBI, Washington or any other place.
There are some laws that do apply to buying and selling firearms between private individuals. First and foremost is the law that prohibits selling a firearm to a known felon. If you provide a firearm to a person you know has been convicted of a felony, you commit a felony yourself. It is also illegal to sell firearms to minors without the consent and permission of a parent or legal guardian.
|§ 18.2-308.2:1. Prohibiting the selling, etc., of firearms to certain persons. Any person who sells, barters, gives or furnishes, or has in his possession or under his control with the intent of selling, bartering, giving or furnishing, any firearm to any person he knows is prohibited from possessing or transporting a firearm … shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.|
If you sell a firearm to a person without knowing he/she is not allowed to own one and discover this later, you should contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately and let them know what happened. If you’re honest and forthcoming about it, they will appreciate your efforts in helping them keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.
When you buy or sell a firearm to a stranger, insist on valid identification. Write down the other person’s name, address and drivers license number. This is to protect yourself in the event it comes back to bite you later. If the other person refused to provide that information to me, I would consider that a red flare. I would walk away from the deal.
If the other person does anything during the transaction to make you suspicious, walk away. If it smells like a rat, it is a rat. We have more firearms freedoms and rights than any other country in the world. Don’t let somebody trying to “shade” you take that away from you. No matter how sweet the deal is, there’s nothing worth going to prison for.